Tanith Belbin

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Tanith Belbin
Tanith Belbin.jpg
Belbin in a press conference
Personal information
Full nameTanith Jessica Louise Belbin
Country representedUnited States
Born(1984-07-11) July 11, 1984 (age 29)
Kingston, Ontario
ResidenceMichigan
Height1.62 m (5 ft 4 in)
PartnerBenjamin Agosto
Former partnerLiam Dougherty (CAN)
Ben Barruco (CAN – pairs)
Andrew Hinton (CAN)
Former coachNatalia Linichuk
Gennadi Karponosov
Igor Shpilband
Marina Zueva
Elizabeth Coates
Former choreographerNatalia Linichuk
Igor Shpilband
J. T. Hornstein
Skating clubIceWorks
Training locationsAston, Pennsylvania
Canton, Michigan
Began skating1986
RetiredJune 2010
ISU personal best scores
Combined total221.26
2005 Worlds
Comp. dance44.00
2005 Four Continents
Original dance67.54
2005 Worlds
Free dance111.54
2005 Worlds
 
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Tanith Belbin
Tanith Belbin.jpg
Belbin in a press conference
Personal information
Full nameTanith Jessica Louise Belbin
Country representedUnited States
Born(1984-07-11) July 11, 1984 (age 29)
Kingston, Ontario
ResidenceMichigan
Height1.62 m (5 ft 4 in)
PartnerBenjamin Agosto
Former partnerLiam Dougherty (CAN)
Ben Barruco (CAN – pairs)
Andrew Hinton (CAN)
Former coachNatalia Linichuk
Gennadi Karponosov
Igor Shpilband
Marina Zueva
Elizabeth Coates
Former choreographerNatalia Linichuk
Igor Shpilband
J. T. Hornstein
Skating clubIceWorks
Training locationsAston, Pennsylvania
Canton, Michigan
Began skating1986
RetiredJune 2010
ISU personal best scores
Combined total221.26
2005 Worlds
Comp. dance44.00
2005 Four Continents
Original dance67.54
2005 Worlds
Free dance111.54
2005 Worlds

Tanith Jessica Louise Belbin (born July 11, 1984) is a Canadian-American ice dancer. Though born in Canada, she holds dual citizenship and has competed for the United States since she began skating with Benjamin Agosto in 1998. With Agosto, Belbin is the 2006 Olympic silver medalist, four-time World medalist, three-time Four Continents champion (2004–2006), and five-time U.S. champion (2004–2008).

Personal life[edit]

Tanith Belbin was born in Kingston, Ontario and raised in Kirkland, Quebec. In 1998, she moved to the Detroit area in the United States and received an immigrant worker visa in 2000.[1] Due to immigration rules at the time, she did not receive a green card until July 2002 and would not have been granted U.S. citizenship until 2007.[1] An amendment was passed which allowed Belbin to be sworn in as an American citizen on December 31, 2005.[1] The amendment was authored by Senator Carl Levin who stated "This amendment corrects an anomaly in the law that unfairly disadvantaged some people who had begun their naturalization process before 2002. Tanith Belbin began her naturalization process in 2000, but due to changes that were made to the law in 2002, the process has taken significantly longer than it would have if she had filed her paperwork two years later."[2]

Belbin lived and trained in Canton, Michigan for many years, before moving to Aston, Pennsylvania. After 2010, Belbin decided to move back to Michigan to attend Eastern Michigan University[3] and be closer to friends and family, including boyfriend Charlie White.[4]

Her father, Charles Belbin, is an engineer, while her mother, Michelle (McKinlay) Belbin, is a former figure skater (who trained in St. John's, Newfoundland,[1][2] under Rolf Adomeit), coach, and costume designer.[5] She made some of her daughter's costumes.

Career[edit]

Tanith Belbin began skating when she was almost three and started ice dancing at about eight or nine.[6] She competed both as a pair skater and ice dancer in Canada before deciding to concentrate completely on ice dancing. She was introduced to ice dancing by Paul Wirtz and competed with partner Liam Dougherty. Her pairs partner was Ben Barruco, with whom she placed 2nd at the novice level at the 1997 Canadian Championships. She did not compete with either partner internationally.

Partnership with Agosto[edit]

After a year without a partner in Canada,[6] Belbin moved to Detroit in 1998, where she was partnered with Benjamin Agosto by their coach Igor Shpilband. In the 1999–2000 season, they won a pair of medals on the ISU Junior Grand Prix series and finished 4th at the JGP Final. They went on to win the U.S. junior national title and then took the bronze medal at the 2000 World Junior Championships.[7] In 2000–2001, Belbin / Agosto competed again on the JGP series, taking gold in all three of their events including the Final. They appeared on the senior level at the 2001 U.S. Championships and won the silver medal, qualifying them for their first senior World Championships, where they finished 17th.

In 2001–2002, Belbin / Agosto made their senior Grand Prix debut and won another silver medal at the U.S. Championships, which would have qualified them for the 2002 Winter Olympics if Belbin had been an American citizen. Instead, Belbin and Agosto were sent to all the other ISU Championships for which they were eligible: Four Continents, Junior Worlds, and Worlds. They won the 2002 World Junior Championships,[7] completing their set of medals from that event. Following that season, Agosto aged out of juniors.

Belbin / Agosto won the 2004 U.S. national title and would go on to repeat four times. At Nationals in 2005, the last year of the 6.0 system, Belbin / Agosto received straight perfect sixes for presentation in their free dance. Of the 30 6.0s given out in ice dance at U.S. Nationals, Belbin / Agosto have 14 of them. Their total 6.0 count at the U.S. Championships is second only to Michelle Kwan (38).

Belbin / Agosto won the silver medal at the 2005 World Championships.

Fans of Belbin / Agosto wrote letters and signed petitions asking for a special act of Congress to allow Belbin to become a citizen in time for her to compete at the 2006 Winter Olympics, where many believed they could medal. In addition, it was Belbin / Agosto who earned a third spot for the U.S. in the Olympic ice dancing event, by winning a medal at the 2005 World Championships, without which the U.S. would have had only two spots. However, the mother of fellow American ice dancer David Mitchell sent a letter to Senator Hillary Clinton, asking her to vote against it.[8][9] She believed that it was unfair to bend the requirements for U.S. citizenship for Belbin, when other "aliens of extraordinary ability" were denied expedited citizenship.[citation needed] Ultimately, by a special act of Congress sponsored by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) that passed on December 28, 2005, which President George W. Bush signed on December 31, 2005, Belbin became a naturalized citizen, allowing her to compete for the United States at the 2006 Winter Olympics.[1][2]

In January 2006, Belbin / Agosto won their third consecutive national title and qualified for the Olympics. At the Turin Olympics, Belbin and Agosto won the silver medal in ice dancing, the highest Olympic result of any American team in the discipline, and the first American ice dancers to win an Olympic medal in 30 years. They went on to win the bronze at Worlds.

Belbin / Agosto began the 2006–2007 season with a free dance called That's Entertainment but arrived at Nationals with a new program to the music of Amelie. They won gold at Nationals, the silver medal at Four Continents, and the bronze at Worlds.

In 2007–2008, they won gold medals at both Skate America and Cup of China which qualified them for the Grand Prix Final, where they took the silver medal. They won their 5th national title and then placed 4th at the 2008 Worlds after a fall by Belbin in the compulsory dance. Belbin / Agosto were regular cast members of the Champions on Ice tour from 2004 until COI went out of business following the 2007 season.[citation needed] They were guest stars on part of the 2008 Stars on Ice tour.[citation needed]

In April 2008,[10] Belbin / Agosto left Igor Shpilband, who had coached them for their entire partnership, and began working with the married coaching team of Natalia Linichuk and Gennadi Karponosov at the IceWorks Skating Complex in Aston, Pennsylvania.[11] In addition to teaching different technique,[10] Linichuk advised Belbin to gain 10 pounds and develop some muscles in order to skate faster and more fluidly.[11] This also gave Belbin more core strength to hold her positions better, thus making lifts easier for Agosto.[11]

Belbin / Agosto began the 2008–2009 season at the 2008 Skate America and 2008 Cup of China, winning silver at both competitions. They withdrew from the 2008–2009 ISU Grand Prix Final after the original dance due to a back injury to Agosto. They withdrew from the 2009 U.S. Championships before the event began due to Agosto's injury.[12] They were named to the team to the 2009 World Championships. At Worlds, they won the original dance and placed second in the compulsory and free dances to win the silver medal overall.

Belbin / Agosto won both their Grand Prix events in the 2009–10 season: the 2009 Cup of China and the 2009 Skate America. They withdrew from the Grand Prix Final for medical reasons.[13] At the 2010 U.S. Championships, they were unable to reclaim their national title, finishing second behind Meryl Davis and Charlie White. Belbin and Agosto were nominated to represent the United States at the 2010 Winter Olympics.[14] They finished 4th in the Olympic ice dancing event. They did not compete at the 2010 World Championships.

On June 10, 2010, Belbin / Agosto announced their retirement from eligible skating.[15] They continued to skate together in ice shows.

Post-competitive career[edit]

Belbin has worked as a commentator for ice dance competitions on Universal Sports Network, the ABC show Skating with the Stars,[16] and for icenetwork.com.[17]

In October 2011 Belbin competed as a pro on season 3 of Battle of the Blades pair with Boyd Devereaux and placed 3rd in the competition.

Belbin also works as a choreographer.[18]

Programs[edit]

Belbin and Agosto perform a straight-line lift during their Tosca free dance at the 2009 World Championships.

(with Agosto)

SeasonOriginal danceFree danceExhibition
2009–2010
[19][20]
Moldavian folk dance:
  • Moldovaneska
2008–2009
[20][21]

2007–2008
[20][22]
  • Cotton Eyed Joe
  • Country Waltz
  • Appalachian Hoedown
    by Bluegrass

2006–2007
[20][23][24]

  • Let's Get Loud
    by Jennifer Lopez
2005–2006
[20][25]
  • Bulenas
  • Jaleo
    by Luis Winsberg
  • Duende
    by Esteban


  • La Rosa

  • Let's Get Loud
    by Jennifer Lopez
2004–2005
[20][26]
Russian gypsy dance:
  • Shadritsa
2003–2004
[20][27]

  • Green Acres
2002–2003
[20][28]
  • Elvis Presley medley
    (modified FD)
2001–2002
[29]
  • Oscar Tango
2000–2001
[5]
  • Alexandros
    by Staminis Spanudikis
  • Une Vie d'Amour
1999–2000
  • Une Vie d'Amour

Competitive highlights[edit]

Belbin and Agosto (left) on the podium at the 2009 World Championships.

(ice dancing with Agosto)

Results[30]
International
Event1999–002000–012001–022002–032003–042004–052005–062006–072007–082008–092009–10
Olympics2nd4th
Worlds17th13th7th5th2nd3rd3rd4th2nd
Four Continents2nd2nd1st1st1st2nd
Grand Prix Final3rd2ndWD2ndWDWD
GP Cup of China1st2nd1st2nd1st
GP Cup of Russia2nd1st
GP Lalique6th3rd4th
GP Skate America5th3rd1st1st1st1st2nd1st
Goodwill Games5th
Nebelhorn1st
International: Junior
Junior Worlds3rd2nd1st
JGP Final4th1st
JGP Canada1st
JGP Germany1st
JGP Japan2nd
JGP Mexico1st
National
U.S. Champ.1st J.2nd2nd2nd1st1st1st1st1stWD2nd
Team events
World Team1T / 1P
GP = Grand Prix; JGP = Junior Grand Prix; J. = Junior level; WD = Withdrew; T = Team result; P = Personal result; Medals awarded for team result only.

(Pair skating with Barruco)

Event1996–1997
Canadian Championships2nd N.
N. = Novice level

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Ice dancer Belbin sworn in as U.S. citizen". Associated Press (USA Today). December 31, 2005. 
  2. ^ a b "Levin Amendment to Correct “Catch-22” for “Aliens of Extraordinary Ability” Approved by Congress". levin.senate.gov. December 22, 2005. 
  3. ^ "Five favorite things with Tanith Belbin & Ben Agosto". Icenetwork.com. Retrieved October 29, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto: Life after retiring (video)". Life Skate. July 10, 2010. Retrieved August 30, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Tanith BELBIN / Benjamin AGOSTO: 2000/2001". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on June 20, 2001. 
  6. ^ a b "Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto: Online Interview". goldenskate.com. April 28, 2003. Retrieved April 23, 2008. 
  7. ^ a b "World Junior Figure Skating Championships: ISU Results: Dance". International Skating Union. 
  8. ^ "Mitchell's letter to lawmakers". ESPN. December 5, 2005. Retrieved July 11, 2007. 
  9. ^ "Belbin faces another road block in quest for citizenship". ESPN. December 5, 2005. Retrieved July 11, 2007. 
  10. ^ a b Mittan, Barry (February 20, 2010). "Last Hurrah for Belbin and Agosto". Skate Today. 
  11. ^ a b c Macur, Juliet (February 16, 2010). "New Muscles and Pounds Boost an American Ice Dancer's Outlook". New York Times. Retrieved December 22, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Injury forces Belbin and Agosto to withdraw from 2009 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships". U.S. Figure Skating. January 8, 2009. Retrieved August 30, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Belbin, Agosto withdraw from Grand Prix Final". Icenetwork. November 24, 2009. Retrieved August 30, 2011. 
  14. ^ "U.S. Figure Skating Announces Ladies, Ice Dancing Teams Nominated to 2010 U.S. Olympic Figure Skating Team". U.S. Figure Skating. January 23, 2010. Retrieved January 23, 2010. 
  15. ^ "2006 Olympic Silver Medalist Ice Dancers Belbin and Agosto Announce Retirement from Competitive Figure Skating". U.S. Figure Skating. June 10, 2010. Retrieved June 8, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Pro Skater Pairings, Host and Color Commentator for ABC's "Skating With the Stars" Announced". The Futon Critic. November 11, 2010. Retrieved June 8, 2011. 
  17. ^ Elfman, Lois (January 10, 2013). "Excited Belbin still in awe of U.S. championships". IceNetwork. 
  18. ^ Rutherford, Lynn (January 24, 2012). "Gold dances 'Sugar Plum' as she envisioned, wins". IceNetwork. 
  19. ^ "Tanith BELBIN / Benjamin AGOSTO: 2009/2010". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on June 24, 2013. 
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h "Tanith Belbin / Benjamin Agosto". IceNetwork. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Tanith BELBIN / Benjamin AGOSTO: 2008/2009". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on June 6, 2009. 
  22. ^ "Tanith BELBIN / Benjamin AGOSTO: 2007/2008". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on May 14, 2008. 
  23. ^ "Tanith BELBIN / Benjamin AGOSTO: 2006/2007". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on June 9, 2007. 
  24. ^ "Tanith BELBIN / Benjamin AGOSTO: 2006/2007". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on December 15, 2006. 
  25. ^ "Tanith BELBIN / Benjamin AGOSTO: 2005/2006". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on April 27, 2006. 
  26. ^ "Tanith BELBIN / Benjamin AGOSTO: 2004/2005". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on May 20, 2005. 
  27. ^ "Tanith BELBIN / Benjamin AGOSTO: 2003/2004". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on June 3, 2004. 
  28. ^ "Tanith BELBIN / Benjamin AGOSTO: 2002/2003". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on June 18, 2003. 
  29. ^ "Tanith BELBIN / Benjamin AGOSTO: 2001/2002". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on June 2, 2002. 
  30. ^ "Competition Results: Tanith BELBIN / Benjamin AGOSTO". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on November 23, 2012. 

External links[edit]